China debuts world's first ATM with facial recognition tech

It's not all that often that technology "firsts" come out of China, but here is an interesting one. A technology company has built the world's first ATM to rely on facial recognition technology for security. The machine is described as only letting users withdraw money from their accounts if a scan of their face matches with the data stored on their bank card. It's certainly a unique twist on preventing banking fraud, but it's still far from being proven foolproof.

The ATM was co-developed by Tsinghua University and tech firm Tzekwan. At this point there are just a few demo units, however Tzekwan says they will available for commercial orders soon.

When someone begins to use the machine, a camera above the screen scans their face and compares it with stored images, based on biological features like distances between the eyes, nose, and mouth. Using this technique, things like wearing glasses or changes in hair shouldn't affect the readings. However, it isn't made clear how the facial data/images will first be collected.

In addition to the facial recognition, Tzekwan says the ATMs will help fight financial crimes with other features, such as recording the serial number of every bank note that is deposited. This would allow anyone who tries to deposit counterfeit bills to be easily identified.

There are still a number of obstacles to be addressed before machines like this find widespread adoption, not to mention manufacturing costs and the reliability of facial recognition as a security tool. Plus, privacy concerns should be raised when it comes to the idea of a bank or other institution storing such biometric data.

VIA IB Times